[OAI-general] OAI and intellectual property issues

Terry Kuny terry.kuny@xist.com
Tue, 17 Jul 2001 16:32:40 -0400

Hello all,

I have a question about OAI and its relationship to intellectual
property concerns that I sense might arise - that is, if not 
beaten back with explicit legal disclaimers on the part of 
OAI data providers. This is not a hypothetical interest.

One of the most important things about OAI (to my mind) is
that it explicitly promulgates a principle I call "metadata
transparency" - that organizations who want to make their 
information accessible to as broad a range of users as possible
will make metadata accessible for harvesting by a potentially
equally large range of organizations that want to build 
interfaces to these contents. This is very appealling and
has great applicability for many communities.

The problem I am wrestling with is that what happens
if an organization builds an OAI repository and then 
makes a claim that they hold the intellectual property 
rights to the repository?

Under recent WIPO treaties, this would seem to be a 
legitimate claim since aggregates of fact or data like this
can be considered "original works". If this is so, 
might it not stop other organizations from aggregating 
the same data (perhaps to build a competing data service 
with some prettier interface or better whizbangs)? 

I know this goes counter to most definitions of "open" 
and that really a repository built upon metadata made 
freely accessible SHOULD not do such a thing, but what 
protection is there for a data provider to ensure that
such as situation does not occur? 

Should OAI have some sort of GNU-like license that should
be signed onto that would preclude service providers 
from unfairly exploiting open archives to the detriment
of others? From the OAI perspective, what IP would a 
service provider have claims to?

I look forward to your comments with interest.



Mr. Terry Kuny                    Phone:  819-776-6602   
XIST Inc. /                       Email:  terry.kuny@xist.com
Global Village Research           URL:    http://xist.com/kuny/

       P.O. Box 1141, St. B, Hull, Quebec, CANADA J8X 3Y1